Saskatoon City council has approved a nine-year multi-unit recycling contract with Cosmopolitan Industries worth $2.2 million per year.
Under the controversial new deal, every condo and apartment building in Saskatoon will receive one large recycling bin with the aim of diverting 70 per cent of recyclables from landfill for a total of 3,500 tonnes.
The controversy surrounds residents paying $2.51 per month for the service, about half the program cost. The Saskatchewan government will cover the rest of the recycling program’s cost, but those payments are contingent upon exactly how much recyclable tonnage is collected.
At one point during the saga of the new contract's debate, council voted in favour of increasing the taxpayer portion from $2.50 per dwelling to $4.66.
As it stands, provincial funds won’t be available until at least 2015, meaning Saskatoon will have to cover the additional costs for the first few months of the program.
The non-profit Cosmopolitan Industries employs people with cognitive challenges and says the new deal will allow them to keep paying a decent wage to these workers. The company will have to hire 12 more people to deal with the additional materials collected as part of the new contract.